Merrily We Rogue Along

When we last saw that mystery Rogue, it was way back in March; back before I discovered that I apparently can’t walk and drink at the same time. Here is where we left off with the Rogue tale:

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This week I decided to tackle this again. My hand still doesn’t like knitting cables in heavy worsted wool, but I figured I needed to get back at this. I’ve managed to get about a dozen rows done on the hood this week, though very slowly. At this pace I’ll finish it by winter.

I finished my first week back at work yesterday. The fingers made it through OK, though after ten or twelve (or sixteen) hours of writing in a day, I needed ice therapy.  It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I worried that it would be. After three months of enforced “vacation”, I easily remembered all the essential information I needed to get through my day. I remembered where the bathrooms were, all the nurses’ names, which doctors go with which specialty, and the phone numbers that I call regularly (emergency room!). It helped that it is summertime, and our hospital census was on the manageable side. After a seven-day, roughly 80-90 hour work week, I now have a week off to recover until the next one. And maybe get some knitting done.

I did discover one good thing this week. I really missed work. I love what I do, and though I do my share of bitching (or is that birching?) about a variety of crap on a regular basis, I really did miss it.  My work can be a challenge at times. I function as the “lead” doctor for up to six or seven hospitalists in the hospital that I mostly practice at. In addition to seeing a full roster of patients daily, I am in charge of managing the “patient list”: I make sure that every patient that our group is supposed to be seeing is assigned to a doctor, which isn’t always as simple as it sounds. (Organizing doctors can be a little like herding cats some days.) I coordinate admissions via the ER and outpatient offices, as well as the occasional transfer from other smaller hospitals in the region. And triage what seems like hundreds of phone calls daily.

And amongst all the whining that I can do about how difficult and energy-sucking it sometimes is, I rediscovered this week that I wouldn’t want to do anything else but what I am doing.

Home Again, Home Again…

We are finally home from the Great Wine Buying Expedition of 2005. We left almost two weeks ago, and just got home last night. We drove down the Oregon coast, then down the California Coast just past Mendocino. We turned east and drove through the Anderson valley, tasting along the way, then into Napa. After nearly a week in the Napa valley, we headed home through the Mt. Shasta area, and stopped in Ashland, Oregon to take in a Shakespeare performance. After a night in Portland with friends, we headed home. All in all we put more than 2000 miles on the Dogmobile (John’s car), though I suspect a lot of those miles were driving up and down the Napa valley, dipping in and out of wineries.

The trip was very relaxing, and with only a couple of minor glitches along the way. John had a run-in with the law the first day and has a speeding ticket to prove it (his first ever, so not bad I guess). We took a ton of pictures all along the coast. On day five of the trip, I managed to delete every last picture on the camera. Don’t ask. There were a lot of swear words involved. And I wasn’t even drinking wine at that point. At least we have the pictures from the last half of the trip.

We stayed in a number of swell little hotels and inns along the way, and then spent six days in Napa, staying in a timeshare that was billed as “individual cottages”. We’ve found that there is a wide variation in accommodations when you exchange timeshares; this one was no exception. The “cottages” basically were a trailer court. When we drove into the resort, we saw hundreds of little trailers all backed into lots right next to each other. They were all painted different colors at least, and were nicely landscaped. They were quite comfortable and adequate inside, though the outside was a hoot. Here is a picture:

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That’s my new sock in progress. In Harlot fashion, I have dozens of pictures of that sock all over the Left Coast. Well, I HAD pictures, anyway. Here are a few from the trip to Shasta:

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I managed to get to two yarn shops on the trip. The first was in Lakeside, Oregon, a shop called Angelika’s Yarn Store. It’s in this tiny town, way out of town in the bottom level of the owner’s home. I used to have good pictures of that one. She has the most amazing collection of Lorna’s Laces, with just about every yarn and color in stock. I bought one little skein of Helen’s Lace for a shawl.

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The other yarn shop was The Web-sters, in Ashland. Here’s what I got there:

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It’s Mountain Colors Bearfoot, for socks.

All in all, a lovely trip. I’m glad to be home, and I have to get to go back to work tomorrow; first day after my three months off. I hope I remember where the bathrooms are.

I’ll try to post some pictures later this week of more knitting progress. Between wine tastings, I did manage to make some progress on that sock, as well as on Birch. This week may be pretty much shot to hell, though what with going back to work, and this:

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This morning the floor people came and tore up all the carpets in our main level, in preparation for the wood floor installation. It’s just a mess around here. I’ve spent most of my day packing up as much crap as possible in boxes so I don’t have to clean wood dust out of everything I own after the sanding. It’s too bad they couldn’t have done this while we were gone.

It’s good to be back!

John’s Striped Socks

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Started: September, 2004
Finished: May 29, 2005. I’m not THAT slow of a knitter, really. Between getting sidetracked by other siren-song projects, and the hand thing, these sat in time-out for a long while.

Details: The yarn is Rodel Sport & Strumpf Wolle, purchased in a yarn shop in Heidelberg. It’s a wool/polyamid blend, and is self-striping. Other than one skein that had been cut and knotted in one place, it was great to knit with. It took 3 skeins to make a man-size pair of socks.
These are toe-up, short-row heeled socks. The pattern was created by Sole Solution software. For John’s size, I ended up with 72 stitches around, and they are just a bit snug on him in the leg. Next time I make him socks, I will probably increase a bit in the calf to give him a little more room. Knit with size 2.25mm needles, and 2mm for the cuffs.

What I learned: These were my first toe-up socks, and the first short-row heels that I have done, though I’ve used short-row shaping in other projects. They aren’t perfect, but not bad for my first attempt.

Dulaan Scarf

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Started: March 2005
Finished: May 2005

Details: Beaverslide Dry Goods yarn, in Prairie Aster. It’s a 1×1 rib, I had one hank of this yarn and just knit until it was gone. Needle size 5mm.

For: The Dulaan Knitting Project

What I learned: no new knitting skills on this one. This was the first thing I finished after my hand injury, so I have a special fondness for it. I also just love this yarn. I want a pile of it in every color.

And The Winner Is…

Lorna’s Laces Watercolor, in a landslide. The Opal Orange was second, thanks to Claudia stuffing the ballot box. The other two were tied for the finish. There may have been a few convicted felons voting as well, so the vote may be thrown out months from now. But for now the LL will be my next pair of socks, though I think I will keep that orange stuff close by for inspiration. I’ve become a bit partial to it myself.

John’s Striped Socks are now done. I finished them up this morning as my sweetie cooked me bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns for breakfast. And he did the dishes, so he certainly deserves a new pair of socks.

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He put them on as soon as he got out of the shower. Conveniently, the temperature has dropped 30 degrees since yesterday, so he will actually be able to wear them. What was that rumor about the arrival of summer??

You might notice that these socks are identical twins. It took a bit of fiddling, but those stripes match nearly perfectly. This was my first foray into toe-up-short-row-heel socks. I still like doing them the other way, but this method has the definite advantage of allowing you to use every bit of yarn if you want longer socks. I know that a lot of sock knitters don’t like top down socks because they despise grafting toes, but I actually enjoy that step. It’s nice to know more than one way how to do something, though.

Here’s the morning cat picture:

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Yes, that’s a pile of wood in my kitchen where the table used to be. We are in the middle of some home renovation. All the ratty cat-puke stained carpet on the main level will be replaced by wood flooring, and it got delivered Friday morning. At 6:15 AM. There’s more going on, including a few projects that involved cutting holes into walls that didn’t have holes, and plastering up a window that we just hated. It’s been a mess around here. The floor is due to be installed in a couple of weeks, but the wood was here, so there it is. We actually aren’t going to replace the kitchen table. We figure everybody always ends up in the kitchen hanging out at parties, instead of using the other rooms of the house, so we’re going to put a sofa and coffee table here instead once the renovation is done.

We’re off on a road trip on Tuesday for a couple of weeks. We’re headed to Napa for some wine tasting (out of plastic safety glasses, of course). We’re going to head down the coast of Oregon and California, then drive back up through the Mt. Shasta area. On the trip home we’re taking in a Shakespeare play in Ashland, Oregon, then spending a day with friends in Portland. I’m taking my laptop along, but posting will depend on wi-fi access along the way. I heard a rumor that Oregon and northern California have some swell yarn shops. Then when we get home, reality will set in, and I will have to get to go back to work, after three months off.

I’ve updated my Finished Projects page as well with all the details.

Graduation!

I graduated from hand therapy today! My last OT session with Amy was this morning, and though I still have a ways to go to be even close to normal, the rest of the work is on my own. (No comments from my family members on the use of the term “normal” to describe myself.)

The main thing that is still missing is strength. While my hands have never been particularly strong, my right hand is still at about half the strength of the left. And my dexterity is still a bit lacking, though improving daily. My penmanship sucks. (No comments from ANY of you about doctors and their handwriting. Mine actually was pretty good before all this.) I am officially due to go back to work in about two weeks, so I’m working on it. I’ve sporadically kept an offline journal over the years, and have gone back to handwriting it for practice.

I got new jewelry out of the deal, at least. When I cut the tendons, I also cut the fibrous sheath/pulley that holds the tendons in place, so I have to wear a protective band on my index finger for the next year to protect it. I finally got tired of the adhesive tape thing that I was doing, and we went to buy a ring last week. Here it is:

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Purty, eh?

My knitting is doing better than my handwriting. I’m not a speed-demon yet, but it’s getting there. Here is where I am on the Birch shawl:

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And I finished the Beaverslide scarf:

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This will get sent to the Dulaan project eventually. I’d like to do one more item so I don’t feel like an idiot just sending one stupid thing.

And here is where I am on John’s Striped Socks:

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Just before I got to that last yellow stripe, there was a knot in the yarn. Not just any knot, the yarn  was cut and retied, and of course the stripe sequence was all off. This is the only time this has happened in three skeins of this yarn, but I was truly pissed off at having to dither around and figure out how to get the stripes right. This should just not happen in self-striping yarn.

And now for the audience participation portion of this blog entry. As you can see, I will finish these socks soon.  I have yarn in the stash for about 9000 pairs of socks, and am having trouble choosing just one. I picked a few, and am asking for a vote. Leave your choice in the comments; I’ll go with the winner. These will be for me, as I haven’t made myself a pair of socks in awhile.

First up is a pretty orange and pink Opal:

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Next is Happy Trails, in the color Amelia:

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Or, how about Lorna’s Laces Watercolor?

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Last is Sockotta Watercolor:

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I’ll decide the winner on Sunday, so cast your vote in the comments before then!

Fargo, Not the Movie

No, I didn’t drop off the end of the earth in North Dakota. I had a great time with my sisters; two biological, and one cousin who is an honorary sister. We partied as hard as can be done in Fargo, which is growing into a surprisingly sophisticated little city. If it wasn’t for the weather, I could see living there. It’s that sub-zero winter weather that would very seriously deter me from moving to ND. Snow I don’t mind as much, though it was a bit absurd that it snowed while we were there. Yes, in mid-May.

We ate, drank, shopped, laughed, and visited my mother’s only living sibling (out of nine of them). And played cards. Is it only in North Dakota that people do this when they get together? Whenever we’re in a family bunch, inevitably the cards come out.  Hours can be spent around the kitchen table playing card games, gossiping, and eating munchies (and drinking bourbon). There were a couple of nights that we were up until 2 AM playing “hand and foot”, a canasta-like game that got rather wildly competitive.

I did manage to get one yarn-shopping experience in. Moorhead is just over the river into Minnesota, and the Knitty Gritty Cafe is there. It is a lovely place; if you ever get in the vicinity, check it out. Here are a couple of photos:

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That last one is my sister Diane pretending to be interested in yarn. Neither of my sisters knits; they try to be good sports when I drag them to a yarn shop. This place has mostly yarn from higher-end companies, including Southwest Trading Company, Colinette, Mango Moon, and Anny Blatt. I bought this:

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It’s a little hard to tell from that picture, but there are six skeins, enough for a little summer top.

I did manage to knit on the plane. Here is the evidence:

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As is usual for me, I arrived at the airport in Seattle with about an hour to spare. I get quite anxious about flying and missing planes, and drive my spouse crazy by making him get us there way ahead of time. I worked on the Birch shawl while waiting for my plane to arrive. I have been putting in a floss lifeline every other repeat, and am still using markers as well. I had decided that I wasn’t going to use the lifeline any more, as I hadn’t made any mistakes up until now. “Up until now” is the operative phrase in that sentence. Fortunately I hadn’t taken out the last lifeline, as I screwed it up the second row into the pattern repeat. The more I tried to fix it, the more messed up it got. So out it came. This stuff is not fun to rip out; I only had a row and a half to take out, and I think if it had been more, I’d have just cut it off. Here’s a picture of me getting the stitches back on the needles.

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One word of advice. When you are threading a lifeline through the stitches on your needle, make sure you get ALL of them on the lifeline. I missed one towards the end of the row, and just managed by dumb luck to notice it as it was attempting to unravel down the shawl.

One last photo that gives just a little hint of the good time that we had:

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BH&G

No, it’s not the acronym for a mystery sheep and wool festival that I get to go to. BH&G stands for Better Homes & Gardens, the magazine. If you are out and about, stop by a magazine stand and pick up the June 2005 issue. On page 276 there is a short piece titled “Knit Your Way to Wellness”, by Eric Metcalf. Mr. Metcalf contacted me several months ago regarding the medical benefits of knitting, and then interviewed me for the article by telephone. It was fun doing a bit of research for the interview, and it is most definitely a hoot to see my name in print in a major publication. Now if I could only get the New England Journal of Medicine to answer my calls.

I will be out of the blog-o-sphere until early next week. Though I will try to get one more post in before I leave on Thursday, with some actual knitting content, I am heading to North Dakota for the annual pilgrimage to the homeland. My sisters are both going to be there, and another cousin is meeting us for a long weekend of gossip and partying. I was a little nervous about travelling by myself, as John for some reason doesn’t consider ND to be a valid tourist destination, but I’m relatively independent at this point. They also threatened to talk about me if I stayed home, so there you have it. I can shower by myself and mostly eat independently, so there really wasn’t any excuse not to go. The rest of this week in hand therapy will be spent practicing signing my name so I can handle the credit card issue by myself. At the very least I can probably punch in numbers to the ATM.

My sister that lives in Fargo mentioned that there is a place in Moorhead (just across the river) called the Knitty Gritty Cafe, “apparently a place to knit, buy stuff for knitting, and they have lunch time sandwiches. We can go there while you’re here.” She doesn’t have to ask me twice. Anybody heard of it or been there? Any other great yarn stores in either Fargo or Moorhead? I’ll make sure I remember to pack the camera. I’m off to practice my best credit card signature.

I’m Not Bitter, Part 2

If any of you were to have the chance to go to any of our local farmers’ markets, you would immediately sell your belongings and move to western Washington. My favorite is in Olympia, a lovely little town that is also the state capital. Pike Place Market in Seattle is bigger, flashier, and more famous, but the Olympia market has the advantage in that the actual real-life farmer is usually the one selling the stuff. They are passionate about their produce, and can tell you exactly how it was grown and where. They will tell you when the lettuce was picked, and when and where the fish was caught.  It is also a true seasonal market, with almost all locally grown/raised stuff. You have to wait for corn and strawberries until they are really ready here. You get chanterelle and morel mushrooms in season, usually handed to you along with the farmer’s instructions on how to cook them. Every time we go to the Oyster Man’s stand, we get a different idea on how to serve them this week. The ‘Mater Guy will cut you a slice of his heirloom tomatoes, tell you where the seeds came from, and tuck a sprig of basil in the bag. You can get rabbit meat at the Meat Lady’s store on occasion. There is a Dairy Lady and a Bread Guy, and a Lady that occasionally is there selling knitted items. There is also a local cheesemaker, often manned by their young son, the Cheese Boy. Every weekend, all summer, here is where we forage for supplies for the next week.

Here we are arriving at the market.

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First stop is this stand. right now they have apples and pears, and this week they had the first of the spring onions.

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There are also many plant stands here. There is a place that sells mostly lavender plants, several flower places, and a lot of tomato seedlings and herb plants.

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The apple stand also has nice asparagus this week. We usually plan our meals on the fly here. “Oh you know, they had “x” back there, that would go well with this. What if we cooked this with that??”

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Another sample of the bounty:

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The fish stand is one of our regular stops. Again, what they have varies, but it is always impeccably fresh. Sometimes it’s  clams, sometimes mussels, and right now they have the prettiest halibut on earth. This will be dinner tonight. When the Fish Lady saw us taking a picture, she made us wait until she polished the glass on the case.

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Then there is the Egg Lady. She is not particularly talkative, but carefully puts your eggs in a cardboard container and tapes it shut for you. And yes, you can get duck eggs here.

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Then there is my favorite, the Oyster Man. He even comes here in the winter when the market is closed. People who know anything know that the Oyster Man is in the market square on Saturdays all winter, selling oysters that he collects himself. He can tell you exactly where he got them, and when he got them. And tips on how to open them, as well as how to cook them, if you are one of those who likes them cooked.

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Here are the oysters. This week we bought a dozen of the European flats, and a half dozen of the Kumamotos.

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And the Oyster Lady giving us a close up of the Flats.

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The Oyster Man also has geoducks, which is pronounced goo-ee-ducks, for some reason that escapes me. I’ve never tried these, and really have no intention of doing so, at least not sober.

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On weekends there is always a different band. Here they are:

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There are also several food stands and picnic tables, and this is just the greatest place to have lunch on a warm spring day.

Next stop is the ‘Mater Guy. Right now he has greenhouse tomatoes, and he always makes you taste one before you buy.

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Note the caption on his sign: A tomato a day keeps the doctor away…

This is one of our favorite produce stands. Right now they have several kinds of kale, green garlic in bunches, and fresh sorrel, which I adore. Make yourself a classic potato-leek soup, toss in a couple of bunches of chopped sorrel, puree it in the processor, add cream, and you have sorrel soup from heaven. I have been known to eat it leftover for breakfast.

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Last but not least is the Worm Tea Guy.

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Here is their website: Wiser Worm Farm. (They are really going to wonder why they are getting traffic from knitting blogs!) They sell Red Wiggler Worms, and Worm Tea for your garden.

All of that foraging tired us out, so we had a big lunch when we got home with the goods. We always buy several bags of mixed lettuces, and we made a salad with that, and fresh radishes, green garlic, avocados (those were from Trader Joe’s), and leftover roast beef from a couple of nights ago.

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Yum. It’s time for a nap!

Update:
Here’s the website for the Olympia Farmers Market! You can even find out what band is playing, and what’s for lunch.

I’m Not in Maryland,

Or, Not Bitter, Part 1

Julia of Moth Heaven has put out a call for all of us stay-at-home bloggers to post today. I’m not really bitter about MS&W, as I have many other lovely things to do today. It hasn’t actually been Saturday around this house long enough for much exciting to happen, so I’m going to start by showing you what we did yesterday. Today is starting out gray and rainy in the Pacific Northwest, but yesterday was glorious.

We had lunch on the patio for the first time this year. John had leftover barbecue (Georgia style, if you’re curious. He ate it so fast that I didn’t get a picture.) I had a mozzarella, basil and tomato panini. I don’t have a panini machine, so we improvised with a griddle and a cast iron pan to weigh it down. Yes, that wine glass is real glass. I believe in getting back on that horse as soon as possible.

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I spent part of the afternoon knitting on the patio while John made the herb garden ship-shape. I’m working on Birch, and have one more repeat done since the last time I showed it. At this rate, I will be done with this shawl in time for Christmas, but who’s keeping track? It’s the process, as Margene would say.

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John replanted parts of our patio herb garden while I played. We now have parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, as well as cilantro, mint, bay, marjoram, basil, chives, and a few patio tomatoes for good measure.

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The pets also had fun. Riley and Will basked in the warm outdoor temperature.

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Lucy was too much of a chicken to come out. She did run out once, nibbled on the chives for a second, then ran back in. She prefers the great outdoors from the safety of inside the patio door.

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After everything was planted and watered down, Riley got to play her favorite summer game, “hose”. We shoot the hose water off towards her, and she runs and jumps to bite at the water. She gets soaked, and will play this game as long as water keeps coming out of the hose.

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Today we are going to the farmers’ market in Olympia to pick up essentials for the week. After that we have a few errands to run, then have plans to meet friends this evening for martinis and dinner. Who needs sheep and wool?

It’s Spring!

Well, technically, I guess it’s actually been spring for a while by the calendar. I date it from the first appearance of baby ducks on our lake. We have a great weedy patch by the dock that serves as duck habitat (that’s my current excuse for not cleaning it up, anyway!). I looked out this afternoon to see this little family.

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The papa is very protective, and took his little brood and mom away as soon as I sneaked close enough for a picture. Earlier I saw him giving another male Mallard hell and driving him away from the family homestead. They are so funny when they are learning to swim. Once they start getting a little more independent, they race back and forth, but they don’t have very good directional or speed control for the first few weeks, so they go off in all sorts of comical directions.

And I found a blooming lavender plant on the way back up from the lake, where I really don’t remember anybody planting it. I guess it’s a volunteer*. You can see that nobody on this particular “farm” has been out weeding yet.

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Here is a close up picture of those purply flowers from yesterday. Anybody from the Pacific Northwest know what these are? They grow wild, a lot of people think they are weeds, but they have a lovely fragrance, and most importantly, I don’t have to plant them. They just come up; more volunteers. One friend called them bluebells; anybody know for sure?**

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*John confessed to moving this from someplace else; so it’s not a volunteer after all. I’m apparently just clueless about what goes on in our yard.

**They are hyacinthoides, as per Laurie from Etherknitter, not only a doctor and a knitter, but a gardening whiz.

Knitting & Shopping


Your Inner European is Russian!


Mysterious and exotic.
You’ve got a great balance of danger and allure.

It must have been the vodka and caviar answer that landed me in the “Russian” category.

I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post. I can’t imagine going through all of this nonsense the past two months without all of you cheering me on. Most of my non-Internet based friends are non-knitters, so though they’ve been supportive, they don’t understand the frustration that I’ve had with not being able to knit. I’ve been knitting this past week, but can only manage a row or two at a time. Between the weakness of my muscles and the discomfort, it’s slow going. But it is better than just fondling all my yarn wistfully. At least I’m knitting. I’ve found that knitting heavy worsted wool requires just a bit more tugging than I want to do for very long. So I’m back working on the Birch shawl, a project that I started a long time ago. This has been hanging out in my project bag for months while I was working on Rogue. Laceweight hairy dental floss is easier on my hands, though possibly not my sanity. Here’s where I am:

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Five repeats done, twenty-five to go. The lace pattern is actually fairly easy to memorize, though I’m planning on sticking with my stitch markers and lifeline for now. My hand isn’t agile enough to fix any complicated screwups just yet.

Here’s the shopping part of the post. I haven’t bought any yarn up until now since my injury, but have been looking for a special project to save for when my fingers are back to normal. This yarn came in the mail a few days ago. I ordered it about ten minutes after Amy told me that it was OK to start knitting.

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It’s KnitPicks Shimmer, which is a laceweight baby alpaca/silk blend. I plan on making a shawl out of it, though I’m not sure which one. I ordered several patterns also, from Red Bird Knits. They are all shawls; the Flower Basket Shawl, the Estonian Garden Wrap, and the Leaf Lace Shawl.

Everybody in blog-land seems to be posting pictures of beautiful flowers this week. Here’s what’s in my garden:

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The rhodies here are very prolific. Mine are a bit behind some, as this part of my yard only gets partial sun most of the day. Willie really likes his yard much better than the shelter that he came from.

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I don’t know what these flowers are called, but they grow wild in everybody’s yard. They smell divine, and when you go out in the yard in the early evening, the fragrance is almost overpowering. Nice weeds, eh?

Last but not least, here is the little wall that I tumbled over two months ago.

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Here’s Will demonstrating that he is fearless. “Wall, what wall?”

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Hand Update, Again

Today I’m at 7 weeks post-op. I’m still going to therapy twice a week. Today was the first day that my spouse took the camera (he still comes with me, as I can’t drive yet). Amy, my OT, suggested that I bring my knitting needles with me today so she could watch me knit in order to determine if it was safe to try it yet. Ever thinking of my blog readers, I had John take pictures to document the event. I knew you guys would not want to miss this.

The most fun thing I do in therapy is the corn husk machine. It is filled with ground up corn husks, and is heated. After you stick your arms in it, the fan comes on and blows the corn around your hands while you do exercises. It feels really good, and enables me to do a lot more with my fingers than I can do without it. I think it’s partly the heat, and partly the tactile stimulus of the husks that helps. Here is a picture of me in the machine.

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And a closeup of the corn.

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After my splint came off at six weeks, I noticed that my hand is extremely hypersensitive. This is partly from having it in a splint for that long, with the resulting sensory deprivation, and I suspect partly from having all the skin peel off my entire hand about a month into this. It’s getting better as I am able to use it more, but the weird sensation in that hand has been very disconcerting. Amy assures me that this is normal and that using it will help.

I’ve started doing manual tasks with my hand. She has told me that it is OK to type, though my hand is very awkward, and I can’t type for long without getting very tired. Here’s the other gadget that I started using this week at OT.

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I have to pick up the pegs, turn them over in my hand, and put them back in, while curling my wayward fingers around the peg. It’s harder than it looks. Here’s another view, with Amy supervising and cheerleading.

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And now the picture that you have all been waiting for.

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I’M KNITTING!!! After carefully watching me knit a whole row, Amy said “Those are just the movements I want you to be working on”. I showed her how I could knit continental style to take the work off my index finger, and she said that she would rather I use that right hand so I start getting some dexterity back. (This is a very good thing, as I am a thrower by nature, not a picker.)

HOORAY!!

I had some serious doubts the past several weeks whether I would ever be posting knitting pictures again on this blog. Here’s a closeup of what I’m making.

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The color is actually more amethyst , more like the first picture. I started this before my injury; it will be a simple 1X1 rib scarf.  The yarn is Beaverslide Dry Goods fisherman weight, in a color named Prairie Aster. I intended this to be for the Dulaan project, started by Ryan, of Mossy Cottage Knits. Ryan, this might not get done by the deadline, but it WILL get done and sent eventually! I’m not going to win any speed races any time soon, but I’M KNITTING!! Did I already mention that?

Another Book Thing

There is another of those book memes going around, and it was sent to me by Justine, of Adventures in Asia. I have indeed had a lot of time on my hands to read since my injury, though I have been doing some medical reading to catch up, so haven’t gotten a lot of novels read. Nonethless, here are the questions and my answers.

Q: You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Not sure I would want to be a book at all, in that world. If I had to be, it would be one of the banned/challenged ones. Maybe Darwin’s “Origin of Species”; one of the most revolutionary scientific books of the past few centuries. It amazes me that there are still people who can say with a straight face that they don’t “believe” in evolution. It’s not a religion, it’s a scientific fact. Saying the world is flat doesn’t make it so. My alternate choice would be “A Wrinkle in Time”, by Madeleine L’Engle, one of my favorite books of all time, and also on a variety of banned books lists. It’s a wonder that humans have survived as long as we have, as stupid as we can be at times.

Q: Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Not really. If I had one, it would probably be the swashbuckling Francis Crawford of Lymond, from Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond series. Handsome, brilliant, daring, dangerous. My kind of guy.

Q: The last book you bought is: “Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine”. Oh, you probably meant NON-medical reading. That would be Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s bookbookbook “At Knit’s End”.

Q: The last book you read: “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell”, by Susanna Clarke.

Q: What are you currently reading? “Snow”, by Orhan Pamuk, and “East of Eden”, by John Steinbeck. And the “Collected Stories of Grace Paley”, by Grace Paley. (And Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. Pretty exciting reading.)

Q: Five books you would take to a desert island. Most of these I have never read. I’ve read parts of Twain, parts of Trevor, and Tolkien once, but certainly could re-read it. They’re all big books that would last until I was rescued.

1. “Collected Works of Mark Twain”, the unabridged edition
2. “Collected Stories”, William Trevor
3. “Remembrance of Things Past”, by Marcel Proust
4. “Make Way for Lucia, the Complete Lucia”, by E.F. Benson
5. “Lord of the Rings Trilogy”, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Q: Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
1. Laurie, of Etherknitter. She also has lots of time on her hands to read after surgery.
2. Cara, of January One. She is a librarian, a reader, and started Knit One Read Too.
3. Wendy, of The Bookish Girl. How could I not, with the name of her blog?

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Every so often I check out the Google search strings that got people to my blog. Here are a few favorites from this week:

“things that could be worse”
“bourbon girl” (my favorite)
“one handed knitting”
“one handed zipping technique”
“internal pictures doctor ass” (I can only imagine what this person was really looking for.)

I’m not making those up.

International Pajama Day!

Celia, from Unraveling, has a mission in life. She is trying to spread the word about the joys of spending a whole day in your jammies. Yesterday was International Pajama Day IV, and I’m proud to say that I participated. I changed into flannel pants and a warm fleecy top and passed the whole day lounging around the house.

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Celia did it in much higher style; she’s had several chances to perfect her pajama performance. Check out her blog post from yesterday for her great photos.

I spent the day reading and playing on the computer. In the evening, John cooked me a nice little spring risotto.

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Here’s me helping. I’m still not allowed to handle any sharp objects.

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And here’s the recipe, as best I can reconstruct it. It’s a modification based on lots of trials and several recipes. Once you figure out how to make a basic recipe, you can add whatever you find that looks good. We got all the fresh ingredients at the Farmers’ Market in Olympia this weekend. If you ever see green garlic in the market, buy it and try it. It looks like big green onions, and has a wonderful flavor. You can use it wherever you would use garlic.

We usually blanch whatever vegetable we’re going to add in the broth, and saute any raw fish or meat bits separately. That way you can add it all at the end and not have to figure out how long each part will take to cook. You can use leftover stuff in this as well. About the only thing we haven’t tried in risotto is Spam, and I suppose you could use that if you were desperate.

Some people frown on cheese in risotto with fish or seafood. I like it, so there.

Spring Risotto with Green Garlic, Asparagus, and Shrimp

2 cups arborio rice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Another tablespoon butter
3 stalks green garlic, chopped; use regular garlic if you can’t find this.
Shallots, chopped, about 3 tablespoons (or leeks, if you have them)
1/2 cup white wine
6 1/2 cups broth. We used fish stock that we buy frozen, but you can use chicken or veggie.
Asparagus, cleaned and cut into 2 inch pieces. We used about a dozen or so stalks.
1 cup peas, shelled; fresh or frozen
Handful of chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
3/4 pound shrimp, cleaned and shelled, tails off
Another 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese. Please don’t use that stuff out of a can or the risotto gods will get their revenge eventually.
Salt & pepper

Heat the broth to just simmering and keep it there. Dump in the asparagus and cook for a few minutes to blanch them, take them out with a slotted spoon and set aside. If you’re using fresh peas, blanch those too and set aside. Put the first tablespoon of butter and the oil in a largish pot and saute the onion, garlic, and shallot till soft. In another pan, melt another tablespoon of butter and briefly saute the shrimp, just till they turn from pink to white. Turn off, and set aside.

Add the rice to the pot with the butter, garlic, shallot, and onion, and stir briefly until rice starts to look translucent at the edges. This will just take a few minutes. Add the wine and stir until liquid is almost absorbed. Now start adding your broth to the rice about a cupful at a time, stirring most of the time and watching closely. When most of the liquid from each cup is absorbed into the rice, it’s time to add the next cup of broth. As the rice gets closer to done, add the broth in smaller amounts, and taste the rice off and on to make sure you’re not getting too much liquid. You want it done but not mushy; the rice should still have a firm bite to it when you’re all done. When the rice tastes like it’s just a few minutes from being done, add the asparagus, shrimp, parsley, and peas, and keep stirring and adding more broth in small amounts till the rice is done. You may not have to use all the liquid in the pot.

When the rice tastes done, turn off the heat, add the last tablespoon of butter and the cheese, and stir in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve. This should easily feed 4 hungry people as a main course, or 6 as a side dish. Leftovers are wonderful: we form patties out of it, about the size of a big burger, and saute in a bit of butter. Yum. I’m off to find lunch.